With the #EpicAdventure on hold, we’re showing back up to document the process of getting back on our feet. I’d been loathe to share this with anyone. In all honesty, I feel embarrassed and somewhat defeated. Our adventure hit a snag, expect it’s more of a big gaping canyon. For more than six months we’ve been staring at the canyon and complaining that there isn’t a bridge. It’s time to stop whining and build a damn bridge. This post is a tad long. I’m digging into what went wrong and then sharing what we’ve decided to do to move forward.
I considered starting a new, anonymous blog for this project. I got so far as to picking a pen name and brainstorming a URL. But it eventually sunk in that here on this blog was the place to share this. It’s hard because my name is here, friends and family read this (I think), and what I’m about to share is embarrassing. But some dear friends of mine pointed out that it’s also entirely relatable.
So I hope that if you stick around for this, you learn something from our experience, or that you come away inspired to make changes in your own life. In any form, I hope you get something positive out of this.
My feelings won’t be hurt if you stop following this blog or unsubscribe. What I share may make you uncomfortable. In fact, sharing it makes me uncomfortable. But no one ever grows as a person by staying in their comfort zone.
And finally, if you stick around only so you can be a judgmental turd, please keep your judgmental comments to yourself; I don’t need to hear or read them. My brain produces enough of those on its own, thanks.
Now, on to The Project. Actually, first, a story:
You may remember that we were setting out on what we loving called our #EpicAdventure. We emptied out our five-bedroom house in Michigan, sold as much as possible, donated even more, and packed what was left into our travel trailer and a 10×10 storage unit. In early December we hit the road.
The plan was to come as far as Missouri and stay here through the Holidays. It was the perfect opportunity to spend time with our families and settle into our rig a bit.
And it was going pretty great, honestly. Though I don’t recommend beginning your first RV-ing experience during winter in the Midwest. But hey, we thought we’d just stick it out for a month and be on our way!
That’s not what happened. The first week of January brought sleet and ice, and we ended up with major damage to our Expedition (our only vehicle) that insurance refused to cover. The insurance guy estimated the repairs at $4000, but once we got into a repair shop, the real number was closer to $13,000. Ouch.
And the kicker was that without our vehicle, we couldn’t continue staying in our travel trailer. We’d have no way to get back and forth to town for things like groceries and the wifi I need to work.
Thank goodness for Josh’s amazing parents who didn’t hesitate to take us in.
But here’s the deal: I’m insanely grateful that we have a safe, loving, cheap place to stay. And the extended time that my children are getting to spend with family is absolutely wonderful. But this wasn’t the plan and I’m frustrated.
We were supposed to be traveling and living our #EpicAdventure. Instead, nearly seven months later, we’re still sitting in our hometown staring at a vehicle that needs repairs. And that is embarrassing to me. We’re not even any closer to getting the repairs done than we were in, say, March.
While we’ve been sitting here, my business has grown fantastically, but apparently, so have our spending habits (and bouts of bad luck). We’ve gotten comfortable here in a way I wish we hadn’t.
And lately, I’ve been growing very uncomfortable—with myself. Anxiety, weight gain, guilt, shame, and major procrastination are all rearing their ugly heads.
I’ve been so obsessed with working so that we can get back on the road, that I haven’t actually made any progress. That sentence is crazy but true.
While my income has risen, so has our spending. When you’re working from 6 am to 10 pm every day, you forget to do things like meal plan, grocery shop, and cook. Which means you eat out a hell of a lot more. It’s been our single biggest expenditure the entire time we’ve been here.
And when I do hit a wall and need to step away from my computer before my head explodes, there are only two things to do around here: visit a restaurant or wander around Walmart. And I really, really hate that place. So instead we drive (my mother-in-law’s car) to the nearest town with a Target. But then we wandered into Best Buy, and Barnes & Nobel, and Starbucks, and look at that, it’s dinner time and we need to eat.
I miss hiking, but with heat indexes over 95 most days, that hobby has disappeared for us. We’ve yet to come up with another outing that doesn’t require being hot AF. So we eat and we browse…and that kills us.
You see, we’re just comfortable enough that we’re not motivated. And that number we need to save for repairs is just big enough to be scary.
Last Fall, we saved nearly the same amount to buy our travel trailer. But we were very uncomfortable and very motivated. Josh drove for Lyft and I worked my tail off for every client I could find and we did it.
So it’s time for us to tackle this head on. We’ve set a goal to be back on the road sometime in October. Honestly, that feels crazily unrealistic, but I’m falling apart here and can’t stomach staying much longer. (I’ll share more about that side of things soon.) So, The Project. The project is similar to Cait Flanders’ Shopping Ban. I’d read her blog last year when we were pushing hard to save for the travel trailer, and earlier this month I picked up her book, The Year of Less, and read it cover to cover in an evening. We’ll be following her shopping ban strategy and recording our journey nearly the same way she recorded paying off her debt at the beginning of her blog.
Expect to see start-of-month budgets/goals, weekly spending reports, and end of month recaps here on the blog. Yes, with dollar amounts and everything. Yes, I know seeing people’s finances laid out in public is taboo, but I really don’t care. This culture of money-shame is a big part of the problem we face as a generation and I’m over it. I’m willing to get uncomfortable and share this if it helps just one person out there decide to take control of their money and their life.
Update Note: I recently unpublished these spending reports. If it’s something you’re interested in, please reach out and let me know.